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Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

Introduction

Dr. Cephas Lumina is the current Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. In general, the Independent Expert carries out analytical research, as well as undertaking country missions, in an effort to work with Governments, the United Nations, non-governmental actors and other stakeholders on issues falling under his mandate. The terms of his mandate are contained in Human Rights Council resolution 7/4 and 16/14, which request him to pay particular attention to:

(a) The effects of foreign debt and the policies adopted to address them on the full enjoyment of all human rights, in particular, economic, social and cultural rights in developing countries;

(b) The impact of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations on the capacity of States to design and implement policies and programmes, including national budgets that respond to vital requirements for the promotion of the realization of social rights;

(c) Measures taken by Governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to alleviate such effects in developing countries, especially the poorest and heavily indebted countries;

(d) New developments, actions and initiatives being taken by international financial institutions, other United Nations bodies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with respect to economic reform policies and human rights;

(e) Quantification of minimum standards to support the realization of the Millennium Development Goals;

(f) Enhancement of consultations with all relevant stakeholders in the fulfillment of his mandate;

UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeThe Council also requests the Independent Expert to explore, through his annual analytical report, the interlinkages with trade and other issues, including HIV/AIDS, when examining the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights. He is also called upon to contribute, as appropriate, to the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development, with a view to highlighting the broad scope of his mandate.

In its resolution adopted in April 2004, the Commission on Human Rights (the predecessor to the Human Rights Council) requested the Independent Expert to draft general guidelines to be followed by States and by private and public, national and international financial institutions in the decision-making and execution of debt repayments and structural reform programmes, including those arising from foreign debt relief, to ensure that compliance with the commitments derived from foreign debt will not undermine the obligations for the realization of fundamental economic, social and cultural rights, as provided for in the international human rights instruments. The former Independent Expert, Mr. Bernards Mudho, undertook consultations to develop guidelines and presented draft general guidelines to the Human Rights Council in March 2008.

In March 2008 the Council requested the Independent Expert to continue consultations on the draft general guidelines with States, international organizations, United Nations agencies, fund and programmes, regional economic commissions, international and regional financial institutions and non-governmental organizations. After a broad consultative process the Independent Expert submitted the Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights to the Human Rights Council in June 2012. The Council endorsed the Guiding principles in its resolution 20/10 and requested the Independent Expert to develop a commentary to them.

As a part of his mandate, the Independent Expert carries out country missions to study the effects of foreign debt on the realization of human rights and to engage in dialogues with the Government, international financial institutions, UN agencies and civil society as a part of his global analysis of the subject as well as to develop practical recommendations and suggestions to the countries concerned.  The Independent Expert also engages in consultations with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as other international organizations active in the areas of development aid.

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More press releases and statements

Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights

The Guiding principles are designed to assist States and all relevant actors in the conduct of their respective activities and pursuit of their respective interests relating to external debt

Background

Text of the Guiding principles
E F S A R C

Draft commentary on the Guiding principles
A/HRC/25/51
(Advance Unedited Version)

Resolution endorsing the Guiding principles

Latest thematic report

Report to the Human Rights Council

A/HRC/25/50
Topic: Activities by the Independent Expert (2008-2014)

Study on the impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin on the enjoyment of human rights

Final Report (A/HRC/25/52)

Consultation

Interim report

Resolution requesting the elaboration of the study

Independent Expert

Dr. Cephas Lumina
(Zambia), since 2008